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Case Study

RETIRED NURSE LEFT IN AGONY AFTER DENTIST BOTCHES TREATMENT

• 74-year-old Vivien Hall, from Ipswich, Suffolk suffered almost two years of pain, swelling and dental infection after her dentist failed to spot and treat decay
• He also botched a tooth extraction, leaving her roots in her jaw causing more excruciating pain
• £10,000 awarded in compensation

Mrs Hall visited Dr Michael Fordham at Berners Dental Practice, Ipswich, Suffolk, between April 2014 and March 2017.

“I’d never had any problems with my teeth and always visited the dentist regularly,” Mrs Hall said. “I’d been Dr Fordham’s patient for years and I trusted he knew what was best. So when I started suffering from toothache in late 2015, which was so bad the side of my face swelled up, I made an appointment with him.”

But Dr Fordham offered no treatment.

“He just indicated there was nothing to worry about and that it would subside on its own,” Mrs Hall explained. “In hindsight I suppose this was strange. But you just take your dentist’s advice don’t you. If they say nothing needs to be done you believe them. And although the pain and swelling did subside a bit, I could feel something still wasn’t right.”

By February 2017 the pain and swelling on the left side of Mrs Hall mouth had become severe again. This time Dr Fordham extracted her tooth and prescribed antibiotics.

“I was a little bit shocked to suddenly be told my tooth needed to be extracted,” Mrs Hall recalled. “At this point I still trusted Dr Fordham I suppose. But after the extraction something still didn’t feel right. I had to make an emergency appointment a few days later because of the pain I was suffering, but Dr Fordham just told me to keep taking antibiotics.”

“Weeks later the pain still coming from the area where the tooth had been extracted was so terrible I had to go back to Dr Fordham again. This time, he finally realised that the roots of my tooth were still in my jaw.”

He referred Mrs Hall to a specialist to have them removed. But unfortunately, her pain was still present after the roots were removed, and the swelling she’d been experiencing consistently hadn’t subsided. Her new dentist prescribed antibiotics yet again, but they made no difference.

After no improvement, Mrs Hall returned to Berners Dental Practice, and saw a different dentist.

“I’d just had enough and had lost all confidence in Dr Fordham,” Mrs Hall explained. “The pain was absolutely awful and I now had an abscess near to where my tooth had been extracted. The new dentist performed root canal treatment but it still didn’t stop the pain.”

“I then began experiencing swelling in the lower part of my jaw. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed to be problem after problem. I was given more antibiotics for the pain, but it just didn’t seem to help. In October 2017 I had more root canal treatment at another tooth. It was just never ending, and had started to have a really negative impact on my life. It was horrible.”

“To think this ordeal was all because my dentist wasn’t doing his job properly unbelievable,” Mrs Hall said. “On top of all the pain and discomfort I experienced, my mental health really suffered too. When you’re in constant pain it’s a battle to stay positive. I was depressed for a number of months. My social life declined enormously, after all, no one wants to go anywhere with a swollen beach ball! As an ex-healthcare professional it makes me really angry, the neglect that I was treated with.”

Tyla Westhead of the Dental Law Partnership commented, “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, all of her problems could have been avoided.”